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November 8, 2016 • JOHN BURTON FOUNDATION UPDATES
The John Burton Foundation for Children Without Homes is dedicated to improving the quality of life for California’s homeless children and developing policy solutions to prevent homelessness.

John Burton Foundation
235 Montgomery, Suite 1142
San Francisco, CA 94104
AB 12 Question of the Week Index
UPCOMING EVENTS

11/10: Webinar - Collaborative Work: Post-Secondary Education & Foster Youth

11/17: Webinar - CalYOUTH Policy & Practice Implications: Physical/Mental Health
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AB 12 Question of the Week

State Issues Guidance on New and Improved Tracking of Young Parents in Foster Care

Children in Foster Care in U.S. Increases, California Experiences Decline

Final Webinar on CalYOUTH Study, Outcomes at Age 19: Physical & Mental Health

Study Finds Fast-Tracking Termination of Parental Rights Does Not Speed Up Adoption

Question of the Week: Medical Marijuana

Q: I’m a county worker with a young man who has a medical marijuana card, living in one of our THP+FC sites. His medical marijuana card says he has to smoke it within the confinements of his own home, however the provider does not want him smoking in the house. 

Is the provider required to permit him to smoke marijuana, and how do we handle the issue of his roommate (who does not hold a medical marijuana card) being exposed to or potentially accessing the marijuana? For the answer, follow this LINK.

State Issues Guidance on New and Improved Tracking of Young Parents in Foster Care

While increased attention has been paid to the needs of young parents in foster care California, very little is known about them, including the exact number that exist, their county of placement, their ethnicity, whether they have custody of their child and more. That will soon change, thanks to an update to the state child welfare database which will now track these populations reliably, according to All County Information Notice (ACIN) I-73-16, which was issued in mid-October.

According to the ACIN, the new process for tracking parenting dependents replaces a series of special project codes, which were not mandated fields and therefore potentially less reliable. Information about young parents in foster care and their children will be required in several places in CWS/CMS, including the Client Notebook, the “Zippy” Referral Notebook, which tracks client services, and the Placement Notebook. To download the ACIN, follow this LINK.

Children in Foster Care in U.S. Increases, California Experiences Decline 

Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data released by the Children’s Bureau, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families reveal a continued increase in the numbers of children in foster care in the United States.
 
After six years of decline from Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 to FY 2012 with a low of 397,000, the number of children in foster care increased to 428,000 in FY 2015. This represents a 3.4 percent increase from FY 2014. The number of children entering foster care in the U.S. has increased each year since FY 2012, by a total of seven percent from 251,354 entering during FY 2012 to 269,509 entering during FY 2015.
 
State-level AFCARS data is not made available, however according to the California Child Welfare Indicators Project, both the number of children entering California’s foster care system and the point-in-time number of children in foster care has decreased for the past three years.
 
In FY 2014, 26,054 children and youth entered foster care in California, a number that decreased by 4 percent to 25,077 in FY 2015, and by 5 percent to 23,749 in FY 2016. As of July 1, 2014 there were 66,956 children and youth in foster care, dropping very slightly to 66,475 as of July 1, 2015, and to 65,217 as of July 1, 2016.
 
These decreases follow several years of decline in the number of children and youth in foster care in California, with the exception of the increases that occurred between 2012 and 2014, attributable to the extension of foster care to age 21. Over the past fifteen years, the foster care population in California has decreased by 44 percent, with 116,845 children in care on July 1, 1999. To download the AFCARS FY 2015 report, follow this LINK. To run data reports using the California Child Welfare Indicators Project, follow this LINK.

Final Webinar on CalYOUTH Study, Outcomes at Age 19: Physical & Mental Health

On Thursday, November 17th from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., Dr. Mark Courtney will present key findings from Chapin Hall’s California Youth Transitions to Adulthood (CalYOUTH) Study, a comprehensive look at the experiences of youth participating in Extended Foster Care in California. The CalYOUTH Study examines a wide range of topics, including health, education, employment, personal relationships, access to services and much more.
 
This web seminar, which will focus on physical and mental health, is the third and final presentation in a three-part series on the CalYOUTH Study’s findings at age 19, sponsored by the John Burton Foundation, the California Co-Investment Partnership and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. It will be moderated by Anna Johnson of the National Center for Youth Law. 
 
The first two presentations shared the study’s findings about housing (download slides and recording) and education (download slides and recording). To register for the final web seminar, follow this LINK. To read the report, follow this LINK.
 

Study Finds Fast-Tracking Termination of Parental Rights Does Not Speed Up Adoption

Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago released a study comparing adoption policies across states to determine whether states with more "fast track" exceptions to the reasonable reunification efforts mandate and/or shorter mandated Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) timeframes have higher rates of adoption.

When a child enters foster care, the state must first make reasonable efforts to reunify the child with their family before the state may move to TPR. States have the discretion to build on framework established in federal statute which lays out "fast track" criteria pertaining to egregious behavior on the part of parents that releases states from the obligation to work toward reunification, and the 15/22 rule which states if a child has been in foster care for 15 out of 22 consecutive months, the state may initiate TPR. 

Of the twenty states in the study, fifteen had eleven or more "fast track" exceptions listed in their state adoption policies, and six states adopted the 15/22 timeline. Of all the children in the study, almost one in five were adopted (19%); however, the speed and likelihood of adoption varied from state to state. 

Results revealed that states with more "fast track" exceptions did not have faster adoptions than those that had fewer. States with more stringent length-of-stay standards (i.e. shorter timeframes than the 15/22 timeline) did not finalize adoptions any faster than states with longer timeframes. To read the report, follow this LINK.
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